baseball team supplies Hank Aaron, 1,000-home-run hitter? Examine. A player who could have emerged from the Atlantic Ocean? Double verify. In today without MLB, our workers writers went on a deep dive of baseball’s most complete database to search out issues that remind them of what makes the sport so nice.

Baseball-Reference is the eighth marvel of the world, and albeit, it’s superior to a number of the better-known seven, too. Who wants the Colossus of Rhodes, in any case, when you could have the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime house run king of Japan?

One of many qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the web is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its historical past. A lot of that pleasure is tied in with searching Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and enjoyable names and incredible accomplishments and all of these quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, but in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively much more central for fans: Solely the strangeness can slake our baseball thirst; the one new discoveries can come from mining the depths of already existing pages.

The site has more information available than anyone has time to read, social distancing or not. There are pages for each player, staff, and season; for leagues ranging in ability level across 4 continents; for every attainable statistical search a baseball fan would hope to answer. So to rejoice the breadth of the location’s riches, we held a miniature draft, picking our five favourite B-Ref pages apiece, selected from anyplace on the site. As befits this eighth wonder, we bought bizarre—and in so doing, discovered room for some baseball smiles even when the parks are closed, the mounds just waiting for the first real pitch of spring. —Zach Kram.

Some of the distinctive bits of Baseball-Reference branding is “black ink.” At any time when a participant leads his league in a statistical category, the number on his page is displayed in daring. If he leads all of Major League Baseball, it’s each bolded and italicized. B-Ref even tracks black ink on a player’s web page, with sure classes weighted to emphasize their significance, and publishes the participant’s score on the backside of his web page as a quick and soiled estimation of his worthiness for the Corridor of Fame.

When most statheads speak about players with quite a lot of black ink, they go to favorites from the recent previous, like Barry Bonds or Pedro Martínez. But my private favorite smattering of black ink belongs to Rogers Hornsby. The Rajah was a real asshole, God relaxation his soul, but he could completely rake. If you recognize something about Hornsby, aside from his successful personality, it’s that his career batting common, .358, is the very best ever for a right-handed hitter and second solely to Ty Cobb general. That undersells his offensive prowess somewhat.

That’s proper, from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby led the National League in batting common, OBP, and slugging percentage (and by extension OPS and OPS+) every single yr. Bonds and Ruth swept the triple-slash classes 3 times mixed, while Hornsby did it six years in a row. As much as I like the nooks and crannies of Baseball-Reference, generally you just want a stats web site to play the hits. Actually, in Hornsby’s case.

The 1899 Spiders are the worst workforce in MLB history. They're additionally my favourite crew in MLB historical past. (I am keen on them so fervently that early on in my relationship, my girlfriend purchased me a classic Spiders T-shirt as a birthday current.) And their Baseball-Reference web page exhibits why.

The backstory here is that before the season, the Spiders’ homeowners also bought the St. Louis Perfectos (later the Cardinals) and traded all their good gamers—together with Cy Young and two different future Corridor of Famers—to St. Louis to attempt to type a superteam. However that context isn’t instantly obvious on the page. One of the solely indications of something unusual comes on the high of the page, when B-Ref gives an choice to see the Spiders’ earlier season however not their next. That’s because the Spiders franchise folded after 1899.

The other indication of one thing strange is the info itself; B-Ref is, at the start, a treasure trove of data. For example, each crew page features a quick visual illustration of the game-by-game results. Inexperienced means a win, crimson means a loss, and the height of the bar signifies the margin of victory. Here is the Spiders’ graph of 20 inexperienced bars and 134 purple.

Each web page is crammed with storytelling statistics. So it’s straightforward to see that, say, Jim Hughey was the Spiders’ ace however finished the season with a 4-30 record, and that the pitching staff as a complete completed with a 6.37 ERA and didn’t characteristic a single participant with a league-average mark or higher.

The Spiders also exemplify the uncertainty of early baseball record-keeping, which wasn’t practically as precise as it's as we speak. Six players have a “?” subsequent to their names, which signifies that baseball historians are unsure of their handedness on the plate. And they highlight the wonders of old-timey baseball names, with players like Sport McAllister, Ossee Schrecongost, and Highball Wilson. Harry Colliflower was on this group, too, with a enjoyable title and a hilarious participant photograph—another delight of early-years Baseball-Reference—in addition.

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